Summarizing is a
powerful reading
strategy. It increases
comprehension and
retention of
When you summarize,
you restate the most
important information
of a text, using your
own words.
A summary can be
completed in writing,
but also orally,
artistically, visually,
physically or
Summarizing is:
Keep only the
important information
and main ideas.
Do not include
supporting details in
your summary.
Use your own words!!!
“Summaries are about
the author’s
arguments and
details; they are not
the place for personal
opinions or
-- Rick Wormeli
Summaries should be
between 10 to 25
percent of the original
text’s length (1
percent for novels).
If the summary is
more than 25% of the
original text’s length,
you need to delete
more details and keep
only the important
One of the toughest
parts of summarizing,
is paraphrasing -putting important
information into your
own words.
Let’s give paraphrasing
a try.
Read the passage on
the next slide. You will
be asked to paraphrase
afterwards, so be sure
you are comprehending
as you read !!
People used to play football
bareheaded. After many
injuries, players began to use
plain, leather caps. Plastic
helmets and masks appeared
later. Still, many players were
getting hurt. To make helmets
better, designers studied
--- woodpeckers! Their tough,
spongy skulls became the
model for modern football
Now, summarize the text
from the previous slide
either in writing or orally.
Remember to paraphrase.
If you follow our 10% to 25%
rule, your summary should
only be a few sentences.
Here is an example of a
summary for the passage you
During football’s early days,
many injuries occurred due to
little or no head protection.
Improved football helmets
were designed using
woodpecker skulls as a
Your summary and
paraphrase will not be
exactly the same as the
example shown.
However, it should include
the following important
• Football was originally played
with little or no head
Injuries occurred
Improved helmets/head
protection were modeled after
woodpecker skulls
Summarizing Tricks
Let’s look at some
strategies/tricks that will
help you summarize.
•Text Features
•Topic Sentences
•Reporter’s Notes -Who, What, Where,
When, Why, How
Text Features
Text features such as titles,
subtitles, bold, color, margin
notes, etc. are clues to a
text’s most important
information -- information
you may want to include in
your summary.
If a text gives you a list of
important vocabulary in it’s
preview, or your teacher
provides vocabulary prior to a
unit of study, use these
vocabulary words as
important information that
should be included in your
Topic Sentence
When reading a short text,
identify the topic sentence in
each paragraph. A topic
sentence holds the most
important information in a
paragraph. Therefore, a
summary can be written simply
by paraphrasing the topic
sentences into your own words.
Reporter’s Notes
Who? What? Where?
When? Why? How?
Identify the answer to each of
the above items. Take your
answers, write them into
paragraph form and you have
the framework for your
The following slides show
examples of organizers that
will assist you with
summarizing. You can also
find these organizers on Ms.
McAllister’s SWIFT website
under documents organizers.
summarizing is a
powerful tool to help
you understand and
remember what you
Beech, Linda Ward, et. al. Comprehension Skills - Main
Idea - Level F. Austin, Texas: Steck-Vaughn
Company, 1992.
Burke, Jim. Reading Reminders: Tools, Tips, and
Techniques. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook
Publishers, 2000.
Burke, Jim. Tools for Thoughts. Portsmouth,
NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, 2002.
Crain, Hilary, et. al. The Write Path: Teacher Guide for
English Language Arts, Middle Level through High
School. AVID Press, 2002.
Wormeli, Rick. Summarizing in any Subject: 50 Techniques
to Improve Student Learning. Alexandria,
Virginia: ASCD, 2005.